Research in the Schanze Labs is focused on the interaction of light with small molecules, polymers, and materials. We have an interest in photochemical and photophysical processes that are stimulated when molecular systems absorb light. Most of our current work centers on studies that explore the phenomenon of luminescence (light emission). In our fundamental work, we apply a variety of spectroscopic methods such as fluorescence spectroscopy and laser-induced time resolved fluorescence spectroscopy to gain information concerning the mechanisms of the light absorption and light emission processes. In applied work, we are using the light emission process of molecules and materials to develop novel light emitting devices (polymer LEDs), and novel fluorescent sensors. Some of our sensor systems are being used by aerodynamics engineers in wind-tunnel and mechanics tests and by chemists and biochemists for sensing analytes of interest.